A couple of decades ago, I had a dream I’ll never forget. Jesus as a young man was standing in front of me. He looked right into my eyes and smiled. In the dream, I was thrilled. “Oh, I’ve waited my whole life to see you!” I told him.

The dream ended and I woke up not knowing what to make of the dream. Yet, the memory and joy have stayed with me, and I know that God is never distant, even in our sleep. The dream also gave me insight into today’s gospel figures.

Both Simeon and Anna had spent their entire lives waiting. Both sought salvation for Israel, the community they loved. Both knew in an instant when the one so long awaited was present. Simeon’s life purpose, and God’s promise, were fulfilled. Seeing the child was enough for him. “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace. My own eyes have seen . . .”

Simeon also anticipated the mission of Mary and those of us who would follow after her. Mary, he said, would be pierced with a sword “so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” She (and we) would stand with the suffering. Our own experience of pain would allow us to listen with compassion, to hear others into speech.

Are there moments when you, like Simeon and Anna, have caught a glimpse of what you long for?

—Mary Anne Reese is a lawyer, poet, and member of Bellarmine Chapel, a Jesuit parish in Cincinnati, Ohio.